The World’s Most Productive Country

Productive countries
The U.S.?

(Graphic and article quoted courtesy of Forbes. Thank you Forbes. The editorializing is my own.)

There are some problems with the image. Hopefully you can see it. But if not, or if it’s not large enough to read, you can find it on Forbes. Follow the second link in the body below. Suffice it to say, it’s an if info-graphic of circles showing the big yellow ball on the middle right that signifies that the the most productive country in the world. 


I have to admit, I was surprised.  Just yesterday I read that Norway, for the fifth year in a row, has the highest standard of living. So I thought … Norway. Nope. It’s us. Although we work fewer hours than many, we have the largest GDP.

 Of course, you may remember the old saying, figures don’t lie, but liars can figure. The numbers these rankings rest on are dependent on government published numbers, and we all know that no government nor any scientist can be trusted with the truth. Never forget East Anglia.

Guess who’s second. The Netherlands. Wow. Does that make any sense? Not to me. I’ve never thought of the Netherlands as an industrial powerhouse. They’re probably including the sex trade. Isn’t that interesting? The Netherlands owes it’s standing in the world community to their hard laboring prostitutes? Could be. I wonder if the Netherlands will drop back into the pack now that the legislature over there has outlawed selling day passes for $100 guilders or whatever currency they trade in over there. Maybe it’s the Euro. Whatever it is, that was considered a real bargain, and a real boon to their tourist industry. People flew in from all over the world. If and when you staggered out of the last brothel at the end of your 24 hours, they presumably poured you on a plane and flew you home.

As you can see, economic statistics are very complex … very hard to understand.  Don’t even try.

From Forbes …

Human resources people worry a lot about worker productivity and “engagement,” a.k.a. happiness. (That’s why the Netherlands legislature took its action against day passes. Not that the prostitutes complained, but the legislature was worried about putting too much strain on the workforce.)

Back to Forbes. The circles, representing countries, are larger where workers are happier. The horizontal axis shows productivity (GDP per hour worked); the vertical, hours worked per year. The U.S. is happiest, with 30% of its workforce engaged, while its GDP per hour is a high $63. Outside the U.S., two of the happiest nations–Colombia and Brazil–are not all that productive. Perhaps they’re preoccupied with free sex.

The French and the Dutch put in short workdays and boast high GDP per hour. That sounds like the magic formula for happiness, yet fewer than 10% of them are happy. Now that is hard to understand. With a booming sex trade and short work days and the free time to presumably enjoy the burgeoning sex trade, the Netherlands are unhappy.

Of course the French are just crazy. But that raises interesting questions about the Netherlands. Are happy workers the most productive? (Click on happy workers if you can’t see the info-graphic.) Are people the most happy when they’re working? See? This can get confusing.

I don’t know if this tells us more about the state of the world’s economy, or more about how difficult it is to satisfy a Dutchman.

For the uninitiates in the audience, the Netherlands and the Dutch are synonymous.  Bear with me. I invent my own words as I go. Grab a pencil to mark up your thesaurus. I used to strike out every third word. You have no idea how much more lively my writing becomes when I do that.

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